Red Devils supporters will be feeling a whole lot better about their club now than they were 12 months ago. Rewind the clock back a year and Sir Alex Ferguson had retired, David Gill had gone, too, and uncertainty reigned around Old Trafford as David Moyes and Ed Woodward plotted United’s summer dealings.
Only one major signing was to eventually materialise last summer, but with the captures of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw already secured, there’s a much more positive vibe about the club. That’s probably because of the man that is set to take the United hot-seat next season, too.
Louis van Gaal is enjoying a wonderful World Cup with the Netherlands, and the manner in which his team has played and the tactical acumen that the Dutchman has showcased will have surely impressed the United faithful.
They’ll be hoping he’s just as an astute operator in the transfer market, too, and despite Van Gaal’s current immersion in the Oranje’s World Cup campaign, the Red Devils’ hierarchy will be busily trying to construct deals ahead of next season.
Here’s the very latest on a duo of La Liga stars that could be set to join Van Gaal’s Old Trafford renaissance:
Red Devils Offered £40 million Angel di Maria
The Argentine midfielder was tipped to be a peripheral figure for Real Madrid after they snapped up Gareth Bale last summer, but Di Maria’s early season form made him somewhat undroppable for manager Carlo Ancelotti. His fine campaign was capped off with a man of the match performance in Real’s Champions League final win over Atletico.
But despite being superb throughout the 2013-14 season, uncertainty reigns over the 26-year-old’s future, and reports suggest that United will do their utmost to capitalise. According to Paul Brown of the Daily Star, the Red Devils have been offered the chance to sign Di Maria for £40 million.
The player has insisted he’s aware of interest from other clubs, but with Argentina currently right in the thick of a gripping World Cup campaign, he’s not thinking about his domestic future quite yet, per David Wright of The Express:
For now, I’m just thinking the World Cup. We'll see what happens with Madrid and if they want to continue.
Honestly, I know that there are offers and interested clubs.
Here’s a taster of the talents that Di Maria could potentially bring to Manchester:
In short, the signing of the Real Madrid midfielder would be a phenomenal capture for Van Gaal. He’s a player that brings so many desirable attributes to a team and it’d be an enormous statement of intent should the Red Devils secure a deal.
Retired player and current pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft thinks Van Gaal must do his utmost to get Di Maria on board:
If Manchester United is "offered" di Maria, Ed Woodward should travel to Brazil NOW and carry him to Manchester. #MUFC— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) July 4, 2014
The Argentinean is a player capable of operating anywhere across the midfield or as a wide-man in a front-three, a versatility that would be vital given the manner in which Van Gaal loves to experiment with various tactical blueprints. But it’s his blistering speed and majestic dribbling that would get the United fans out of their seats.
While the European champions reportedly want £40 million, according to Brown’s report, United value Di Maria at closer to £30 million. But if Madrid are keen on shifting the player, then the Red Devils should act fast and stump up the cash for a genuine world-class talent. If they don’t, you suspect there will be plenty of other teams willing to do so.
United Still Want Alexis Sanchez
After playing a starring role for Chile at the 2014 World Cup, the Barcelona forward has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with Liverpool and Arsenal rumoured to be leading the chase for the player.
But according to Ben Jefferson of The Express, United are also keen on the player and are set to make the pursuit of Sanchez a three-horse race. According to the piece, Sanchez is unconvinced about making a move to Anfield—where he’s been touted as a potential makeweight in a deal for Luis Suarez—and that’s reignited the Red Devils' interest in the player.
Here’s what United supporters can look forward to should they strike a deal with the Catalan giants:
Having been linked with both Sanchez and Di Maria, United supporter account MUFCbulletin ran a poll on which player the fans would prefer:
Despite Di Maria being the preferred option amongst supporters, Sanchez is a player that would add so much to this United team. Capable of operating across the front line, not only is he scintillatingly quick and a phenomenal dribbler, he’s a goalscorer, too, illustrated by the fact he netted 19 times in La Liga for La Blaugrana last season, per WhoScored.com.
United legend Paul Scholes thinks United need to make a statement this summer by signing players of Sanchez's calibre, as noted here by FourFourTwo writer Sam Pilger:
Scholes is right. MUFC still need to sign players of the calibre of Vidal, Kroos or Sanchez if they want a good summer to become a great one— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) June 30, 2014
Despite his intricate playing style and relatively slight somatotype, Sanchez is a player that looks as though he could flourish within the abrasive landscape of English football. There’s a ferocity and aggression about his game; traits that are vital if players are to blossom in the Premier League.
Marry those characteristics with his indisputable talent and it’s easy to see why Sanchez is so sought after and he’s a player United must go all out for. Trumping rivals Liverpool and Arsenal to the player would make things even sweeter for the Red Devils faithful should Sanchez don United red next season.